July 2008 Archives

Facing NYCLU Lawsuit, Insurance Company Agrees to Provide Spousal Benefits to Married Same-Sex Couples | NYCLU

From NYCLU Press Release:

Less than three weeks after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York for denying spousal health care benefits to a validly married lesbian couple, the health insurance company has announced it will begin covering married same-sex couples.

“We applaud Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York for following the law and treating all married couples the same,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. “Families who were denied coverage up until this point will now be able to protect themselves with health care coverage.”

The lawsuit, filed on July 9 in Erie County Supreme Court, followed the NYCLU’s landmark legal victory in Martinez v. County of Monroe, in which an appeals court unanimously ruled that New York State must recognize the valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples.

Hat Tip to Jurist's PaperChase

Do You Suffer From 'Preparing to Live Syndrome'?

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lawjobs.com Career Center - Do You Suffer From 'Preparing to Live Syndrome'?

James Dolan has written a short, thoughtful piece in the Texas Lawyer:

..."I am sure the reader knows individuals who are caught in this bind, or perhaps the reader knows she is in this bind. It is a common condition, causing great amounts of suffering, depression, anxiety and medication. I call it Preparing to Live Syndrome (PtLS)...The sufferer sees life as an endless chain of meaningless, two-dimensional experiences that lack passion, value or meaning but that he must tolerate, because those experiences lead to some future point when all will come together, and life will again take on sparkle and value. In the meantime, there is nothing the sufferer can do, and the solution always lies out of reach, in the future."

Read Entire Article here

CA Bar Journal: Embarrassed lawyers fall victim to Internet scams

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California Bar Journal

By Diane Curtis
Staff Writer

Internet scammers have found a new and sometimes vulnerable target: American lawyers. And some take the bait. “I didn’t have my radar high enough to see what was going on,” says one chagrined Long Beach lawyer who entered into an agreement with a bogus client and went so far as to send $193,000 from his client trust account to a Hong Kong bank because he believed a cashier’s check he had received from a well-known financial institution was good.


Read entire article here.

Judicial Title: 5 New Real Estate Forms

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Forms Archive - The Judicial Title Insurance Agency LLC

255 Affidavit - Collateral Mortgage
Delivery Affidavit
FHA Appraisal Addendum
Lost Note Affidavit
Stipulation of Discontinuance

All available in Word or PDF.

eTrack-Webcivil Supreme & Local

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eTrack is a free case tracking service offered by the New York State unified Court
System which enables you to receive email Case Updates and Appearance Reminders
for Civil Supreme and Local Civil Court cases. It is part of Webcivil Supreme, which
contains information on cases (both Active and Disposed) from all 62 counties in New
York State and WebCivil Local, which contains similar information from the New York
City Civil Courts.

Other courts may be available at the main eCourts site.

Knol from Google

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Knol: a unit of knowledge

A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic.

From Google: "A few months ago we announced that we were testing a new product called Knol. Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Today, we're making Knol available to everyone.

The web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the web. An enormous amount of information resides in people's heads: millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge. Knol will encourage these people to contribute their knowledge online and make it accessible to everyone.

The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It's their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good."

Hat tip to beSpacific.com

Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal
July 24, 2008

New York has established for the first time statewide guidelines for the qualifications and training of mediators and neutral evaluators who are called into cases by judges seeking to encourage out-of-court settlements.

Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau issued the new rules earlier this month with the approval of the Administrative Board of the Courts, which is comprised of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and the presiding justices of the four Appellate Division departments.

The guidelines require that mediators who want to make the rosters from which judges make assignments must have at least 24 hours of training in basic mediation skills and at least 16 hours of additional training in specific mediation techniques in the types of cases referred to them.

The rules also limit those wanting to be assigned as neutral evaluators to those who have practiced law or served as judges for at least five years with "substantial experience" in the kinds of cases referred to them.


Read entire article here.

Stimulus Payments Update-July 21, 2008

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It’s not too late for qualifying retirees and veterans to get their payments. See news release IR-2008-91. Look for updates on the IRS.gov stimulus payments page, also available in Spanish.

Criminal Justice Resources: Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

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Criminal Justice Resources: Sex Offender Residency Restrictions | LLRX.com

By Ken Strutin, Published on July 20, 2008 at LLRX.com, Law and technology resources for legal professionals (our old friends--law librarians).

There are laws in more than 20 states and hundreds of communities limiting or proscribing where convicted sex offenders may live and work. See Lawsuits Test Crackdown On Sex Criminals, Stateline.org, April 18, 2008; Sex-Offender Residency Laws Get Second Look, USA Today, Feb. 26, 2007. These residency zones or exclusions are frequently imposed in conditions of probation and parole or as a facet of registration laws. They raise constitutional issues in addition to the practical problems created by shutting off access to family members, affordable housing, employment, therapeutic treatment and public services.

This article collects recent court decisions, research papers and reports that have addressed the efficacy of exclusionary zoning laws and the impact of these restrictions on sex offenders reentering their communities. For additional resources on Megan's Law and the Adam Walsh Act, see generally Ken Strutin, Sex Offender Laws, LLRX, Sept. 28, 2007; and Sex Offender Resources (NACDL).

Immigration Processing Times

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Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Centers: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/ptimes.jsp
Department of Labor: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/times.cfm
Department of State Visa Bulletin: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html
Hat tip to the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Miller, Mayer LLP, who publish a newsletter dealing with various topics of immigration law.

Swergold v. Cuomo/Hill v. Cuomo

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Save New York State Retirement

New documents have now been added to the Swergold v. Cuomo portion of the Pleadings and Briefs section. In addition, they are now providing the motion and other information for the new action Hill v. Cuomo.


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Ride Amigos -- Save up to 75% on cab fare. Share A Ride, Share a Car, Share a Cab, Share a Limo, Share a Van, whatever! Ride Sharing Cab Sharing Taxi Sharing Limo Sharing Airport

RideAmigos is a free online Search Engine that connects people going the same way at the same time so they can Split a Taxi or Fill a Carpool anywhere on Earth!

Whether the daily commute to work or class, the one time ride to the airport, or even a road trip across country, RideAmigos will find your match. Plus, browse all current listings in your city with just one click!

Traveler Screening Redress

The Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) provides a way for travelers to express concern when they believe they have been incorrectly delayed, denied boarding, identified for additional screening, or have otherwise experienced difficulties when traveling or seeking entry into the country. DHS TRIP allows travelers to submit a redress inquiry in a single request via a secure website. DHS TRIP works with the Department's component agencies, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, and other Government agencies including the Department of State and the TSC, as appropriate, to make an accurate determination about any traveler who has sought redress.

Please go to the DHS TRIP website to review frequently asked questions or file a request for redress related to your travel screening.

Stimulus Payments Update--July 14, 2008

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According to a Treasury press release, payments will continue to be sent to taxpayers in small batches through the end of the year, but the mass distributions have ended. Clients who do not file by October 15 and still qualify for a payment can get it by filing a 2008 tax return next year.

Check the Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center on IRS.gov for updates, also available in Spanish.

New York State Bar Journal

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The New York State Bar Journal is now available online in a convenient pdf format.

Click here to download the July/August issue.

I think I'm going to have a lot more shelf space from now on.

Courtroom Technology for the NDNY

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Received 7-10-08:


Northern District Bar Members -

I am pleased to announce that the Northern District now has a Courtroom Technology page on our website. To view the new page please click on the link below. The new Courtroom Technology Page will allow attorneys to view what equipment is available in each of the district's eight electronic courtrooms as well as where the equipment is located within the Courtroom. There are also technical specifications, pictures and descriptions of the equipment which will assist attorneys as they prepare for hearings and trials where the technology may be utilized. If you have a hearing or trial coming up at any of our locations (Albany, Utica, Binghamton or Syracuse) and would like to use the equipment, please feel free to contact the Courtroom Deputy Clerk for the assigned Judge on your case who will be happy to assist showing you how to use the equipment.

A link to the page is attached for your reference. http://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/Courtroom_Technology.htm

Thank you

Lawrence K. Baerman
Clerk - USDC

CourtHelp--Official Court Forms Free

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CourtHelp is a web page where court users can download official court
forms, at no cost, for family law, divorce (uncontested) civil law and
other court matters, http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/forms.html

Court Interpreting Services

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This web page includes details about the role of court interpreters and
general requirements of the position. The online page also provides
the public with information about obtaining interpreting services, at no
cost, in over 100 languages, www.nycourts.gov/courtinterpreter.

The New York State Parent Education and Awareness Program

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Certified providers statewide help separating or divorcing parents better
understand the effects of their breakup on their children. The program,
which in many cases is free, offers parents practical skills to help
their children adjust to their new family situation.

See the Program’s web page with a list of providers and contact information, www.nycourts.gov/parented

Family History and Genealogy: USA.gov

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New CJA Fillable Voucher & Worksheets Forms Effective 7/15/08

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United States Circuit Court Judge Peter W. Hall, Chair of the Second Circuit CJA and Pro Bono Committee, announces that the Circuit Court of Appeals and all the District Courts within the Circuit have agreed on a new initiative designed to expedite the processing of CJA vouchers in both the Circuit and District Courts. As of July 15, 2008, all vouchers submitted for processing to the Circuit or District Courts within the Circuit, must be typewritten on the official '.pdf' fillable voucher and worksheet forms provided for that purpose on the Courts website. No other forms will be accepted after July 15, 2008. Additionally, CJA Form 26 in the District Courts and CJA Form 27 for Appellate Vouchers in the Court of Appeals will be substituted for the Attorney's Affidavit in Support of a Voucher Claiming Excess Compensation, the use of which will be discontinued.

For more information, visit http://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/cja.cfm.

Thanks to NDNY Federal Court Bar Assocation info@ndnyfcba.org


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PetFoodSettlement.com - Home

There is a proposed settlement of the class action lawsuits known as In Re: Pet Food Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1850, Civil Action No. 07-2867 (NLH) (All Cases) that are pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and similar lawsuits pending in Canada.

This proposed Settlement Agreement is with various companies and persons or entities that handled, distributed, purchased for resale and/or redistribution, supplied, manufactured and/or sold or offered for sale pet food and/or pet treats that may have contained contaminated wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate and were recalled beginning in March 2007, as well as certain companies, persons or entities that supplied that wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate ("Recalled Pet Food Products"). The settlement includes the United States and Canada.

Download and print your claim form.

FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals - 7/01/08

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Police Benevolent Ass'n of NY State Troopers v. Div. of NY State Police , No. 118
In an appeal seeking a judgment determining that state troopers have a right to counsel or union representation in "critical incident reviews" under their collective bargaining agreement, the court of appeals finds that: 1) while the parties negotiated a right to representation for administrative interrogations, they failed to enumerate any such right with regard to critical incident reviews; and 2) by limiting the representation rights to those provided within the bargaining agreement, the parties effectively waived any representation right troopers may have had during critical incident reviews.


G.K. Alan Assoc., Inc. v. Lazzari, No. 127
In a civil lawsuit involving defendant's alleged acts of fraud and embezzlement, a ruling finding that summary judgment for either party was precluded is affirmed where inquiries as to defendant's actual intent for the wrongdoings charged, and plaintiff's knowledge of defendant's ongoing fraud or embezzlement practices, were factual issues properly resolved at trial.


In the Matter of Fiveco, Inc. v. Haber, No. 126
In the context of a party commencing a proceeding to permanently stay arbitration after the 20-day limitations period for objecting to arbitration under CPLR 7503(c), such petitions are time-barred unless the basis of a party's objection falls within the exception set forth in Matter of Matarasso (Continental Cas. Co.) (56 NY2d 264 [1982]). That exception does not apply, however, when an arbitration provision found within a contract prevents finding that the parties never agreed to arbitrate.


In the Matter of Venigalla v. Nori, No. 113
Article 9 of the Religious Corporations Law does not provide for any elections, other than votes of the trustees themselves. Thus, provisions in the bylaws of an entity incorporated under the Religious Corporations Law, which called for election of trustees by the "General Body", facially contradicted Article 9 and were invalid from their inception.


Reddington v. Staten Island Univ. Hosp., No. 112
Labor Law section 741, which offers exceptional and specialized whistleblower protection over and above the generalized protection afforded by section 740, is meant to safeguard only those employees who are qualified by virtue of training and/or experience to make knowledgeable judgments as to the quality of patient care, and whose jobs require them to make these judgments.


People v. Estrella, No. 186 SSM 20
Denial of motion to suppress cocaine evidence recovered from defendant's vehicle is affirmed where: 1) the record supported a finding that an officer who stopped the car reasonably believed the windows was over-tinted in violation of New York law; and 2) the officer was not chargeable with knowledge that the tinting was legal in Georgia, where the car was registered.


People v. Simmons, No. 128
Defense counsel's failure to facilitate defendant's testimony before a grand jury does not constitute ineffective counsel assistance, per se, unless defendant was prejudiced by the counsel's failure to effectuate such appearance.

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Dell offers 'Windows Vista Bonus' to frightened customers

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Dell is actively promoting a Microsoft licensing loophole to channel partners eager to keep selling PCs installed with Windows XP, after Microsoft's official cut off.
The Dell channel blog is pointing resellers to the loophole in the Windows Vista license that enables business customers to downgrade from the unwanted Windows Vista to its dated, but comfortable and better-supported predecessor.


Our cheeky British friends at The Register have the full story here.

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